COVID-19: Travel advisor tasks operators to evolve strategies for business continuity

By Oluwafunke Ishola

Mrs Seni Ilesanmi, Managing Director, Biomid Travel Centre (BTC) Ltd., has advised travel consultants to continue to look inwards and evolve strategies that would assist their businesses to become more efficient and sustainable.

Ilesanmi gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

She noted that the outlook for the travel industry remained bleak due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ilesanmi, however, maintained that every peculiar situation had its associated  opportunities.

The travel expert added that opportunities could be created in travel and tour packages that would accelerate visitation of iconic places around the country by Nigerians.

“A lot of Nigerians have not been to iconic tourist attractions such as the Lagos Jara Beach House, La’campagne Beach Resort, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Olumirin Waterfalls, Idanre Hills and Kajuru Castle to mention a few.

“I advise operators to commence assessment of various domestic tourism opportunities when the government lifts ban on domestic air travels,” she said.

Ilesanmi said it was probable that the country’s security concerns might deter tourists from domestic travels.

“I would say yes and no; tourists like to explore and that’s where it all starts.

“BTC has partnered with relevant agencies that will provide security apparatus when we take our customers on tours.

“Our plan, however, is to develop packages and commence trips solely to the attraction centres in places relatively peaceful over the next six to 10 months,” she said.

On recovery of the travel industry, Ilesanmi expressed optimism that the industry would begin to witness mild recovery by Q1, 2021, adding that the prediction was based on the assumption that vaccines would be available then.

“We have received enquiries from some of our clients, asking us for information on destinations they can visit post COVID-19 recovery.

“We typically advise our clients on various options like visiting countries that are reasonably safe with lots of beaches and outdoor parks that limit their contact with persons or other tourists, as well as serve as platforms to observe social distancing measures,” she said.

On whether it would be safe to fly post COVID-19, Ilesanmi said that airlines were doing a good job in ensuring planes were clean, conducting temperature checks and instituting various safety precautions on ground and airborne.

“Most airlines are commencing intense cleaning with disinfectants after every flight so that customers can continue to remain safe.

“Some airlines have banned in-flight alcohol in response to COVID-19.

“It’s part of the widespread revision of industry food and drink services to minimise interactions between crew and passengers to ensure a safe journey for all,” Ilesanmi said.

The travel advisor, however, advised travellers to research state and local government policies in places where they might stay overnight, or speak to their travel advisors before making plans on places they intend to visit.

“Hotels will be safer since governments have made it mandatory that they procure certifications as precautionary measures for COVID-19.

“I also think travelling with necessary medications like immune boosters is imperative, as well as procurement of travel insurance with good coverage policy,” she said.

Ilesanmi advised travellers to continue to use hand sanitisers, observe physical distancing and wearing of face masks in places such as elevators and lobbies to help reduce their risk of contracting the virus. (NAN)


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